President Duterte to boost ties with Brunei and China, 14 Oct. 2016

President Rodrigo Duterte will undertake state visits to Brunei and China next week to strengthen bilateral relations with the two nations.

“Both visits are expected to enhance our friendly relations with both countries and to assure them that the Philippines will continue to be their partners in the region,” Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Charles Jose said at a press briefing in Malacañang on Friday, October 14.

President Duterte will visit Brunei on October 16 to 18 while his trip to China will be on October 18 to 21.

In Brunei, the President is expected to hold bilateral talks with His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, on issues of bilateral and regional concern.

“It is hoped that during the visit, both leaders could also exchange ideas on how to broaden cooperation,” the DFA official said.

The Chief Executive is also scheduled to meet with the Filipino community at the Indoor Stadium Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex. There are around 23,000 Filipinos working and residing in Brunei.

Brunei was scheduled to be the first Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) country to be visited by the President this year but was rescheduled following the unfortunate bombing incident in Davao City last month.

The Philippines and Brunei celebrated the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2014.

In China, the President is scheduled to meet with President Xi Jinping. The two leaders are scheduled to witness the signing of a number of memoranda of understanding and agreement on various fields of cooperation between the two countries.

Jose said a joint statement will likewise be issued that will stress areas of cooperation.

President Duterte is also expected to meet with National People’s Congress Chairman Zhang Dejiang and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

The Foreign Affairs official said the President may visit some law enforcement and drug rehabilitation centers.

Other activities of President Duterte in China include a meeting with members of the Filipino community in China and his attendance in the Trade and Investment Forum.

The Chief Executive will deliver a keynote address at the forum which will be attended by Filipino and Chinese investors.

Jose said the Philippines and China celebrated 41 years of formal bilateral relations in June this year.

He noted that the relations began in June 9, 1975 when President Ferdinand Marcos and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai signed a joint communiqué of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing.

“With this visit by President Duterte, the Philippines hopes to strengthen the bilateral ties between the Philippines and China through mutual respect and sincere cooperation for the prosperity and benefit of both countries and their peoples,” Jose said. PND